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Final Woodbine Harness Race
Wood Memorial Day
Kentucky Derby Contenders
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Jamie Spencer and Cape Blanco return after winning the Man O'War.
Turf racing was featured at Belmont Park on Saturday, with the $600,000 Man o'War Stakes (G1) for older horses going 1 3/8 miles on the inner course. A field of 6 went to post before 6,619 fans under sunny skies with temperatures in the high 80's. Gio Ponti, winner of this race the last 2 years, was sent off as the 11-10 favorite off a third place finish in the Manhattan Handicap (G1) last out. In to challenge him include European shipper Cape Blanco at 3-1, off a 6th place finish in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot and winless since last year's Irish Champion Stakes, and 9-2 third choice Mission Approved, winner of the Manhattan last out.
Cape Blanco leads while Gio Ponti rallies on the outside in the stretch.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Cape Blanco Spencer 8.10 4.10 2.80 5 Gio Ponti Dominguez 2.60 2.10 3 Boisterous Velazquez 2.90 Winning Time: 2:14.06 $2 Exacta 7-5 18.25 $2 Trifecta 7-5-3 52.50
Left: Cape Blanco takes his walk down Victory Lane.
Right: Cape Blanco in the winner's circle. Charlie O'Connor of Ashford Stud, representing winning owners Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier, said, "We always like to support American racing. We like to race over here and we thought this horse would suit the race. He proved we were right. The distance probably suited him. We were a little bit worried when it was a little bit slow. Jamie gave him a great ride and he kicked on at the right time. He's back to his best form."
Left: Cape Blanco in the paddock before the race.
Right: Cape Blanco circles after the race. His jockey Jamie Spencer said, "I'm very happy with the way the race panned out. I wanted to get a lead, but I wanted a good even pace. I joined the leader 4 furlongs out (on the backstretch) and my horse was really ready for it, but as I joined him (my horse) changed leads and lost a front shoe, so that was the only worry I had throughout the whole race. He's high-class horse and I'm glad he's come back to form."
Second place finisher and beaten favorite Gio Ponti. His jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "He was getting over the ground great. I had a great trip, saving as much ground as possible, and my horse gave me a good turn of foot, but it was not enough." Trainer Christophe Clement added, "I thought the horse ran a good race; he was second-best. I did think the Irish horse had everything his way, but we had the chance to get to him and we couldn't get to him in the stretch."
Asked about Gio Ponti's next start, Clement added, "It's tough to pass on the Million, we won and finished second the last 2 years. Yet again, it's 1 1/4, and yet again, you are subject to weather and luck, but that's the way it is. The fall is obvious - I will be in the Shadwell Turf Mile and the Breeders' Cup Mile. What do I do between now and then? At the moment, I will train him for the Million and we'll keep all of our options open."
Left: Third place finisher Boisterous returns after the race. The 5-1 fourth choice stalked the pace in third early under jockey John Velazquez, but could not improve late, finishing third beaten 3 1/4 lengths. The Shug McGaughey trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 11 starts, earning $200,057 for owner-breeder Phipps Stable.
Right: Shortly after the start with Gio Ponti last and eventual winner Cape Blanco second.
Quebrada Shiner wins the Caress Stakes
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Quebrada Shiner in the winner's circle. The 8-1 shot sat 5th 3 wide early under jockey Ramon Dominguez, closed well to pass the pacesetter at the 1/16 pole and edged clear late. The Robert Barbara trainee improved her record to 7 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 16 starts, earning $232,619 for owners James and Jane Fraser.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Rose Catherine returns after the race.
Past winners of the Man O'War Stakes
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